Thankful for a Perfectly Surreal Winter Running Experience

Day 2,020

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! Rather than stay out and bark at the moon with some cohorts I chose to be in bed before 10pm. This move allowed me to get up and moving a little before 5:30am this morning.

Even though I was out of town for work I still wanted to knock out my Friday morning run, especially knowing that there was a lot of car time in my future. I got up, knocked the rust off my joints, and got ready to head out for my run.

As luck would have it there was what appeared to be a nice little trail only a couple of blocks from my hotel. Off I went into the snow, ice, and stiff wind with my headlamp on and my headphones playing an album from one of my new favorite bands that I’d never listened to before.

Only a couple of days ago my friend James turned me on to The Rural Alberta Advantage and I’ve been working my way through all of their albums. The next one up was Mended with Gold – I’d highly recommend giving it a listen.

The music was beyond perfect for the winter run. I’m struggling to put into words the reasons why it fit so well. The best I can come up with is that it was just perfect. I know, great work in being descriptive Kreiling, right? The sound, the tempo, the lyrics, the emotion in the voice… everything fit the cold, bitter, windy, snowy, and icy run in the pre-dawn lighting. Hmm… the music was raw in almost a primal way, the way the run felt.

As if that wasn’t already enough to create an epic running experience I crested a hill, turned a little corner, and saw this…

Yessir, those are buffalo! Bison Bison if you will. The trail skirted the little zoo and wildlife park in Marshfield, WI. Unbeknownst to me this meant I had an opportunity to get relatively up close and personal with one of my favorite animals. The hairy giants added to the surrealness of the run. It was only the bison and I out and about as there were no roads, houses, or people nearby.

Just before I encountered the bison the song Runners In the Night, a wonderfully perfect soundtrack for that exact moment.

I had to pause and just take it all in. The entire event was so surreal on so many levels. The profoundness of the presence I experienced in that moment is indescribable. It was a perfectly surreal winter running experience. Beautiful in so many levels, my heart still swell with joy as I think about it.


Day 1,964 – Thankful for Finding Ways to Enjoy the Edges

Our run this morning was warm but one of the most brutal in quite some time. It’s been quite a while since I’d last run on very icy roads. My feet would find solid purchase for a dozen steps or so only to then almost shoot right out from under me on the next steps. I’d move a little ways to the left and then a little to the right with no luck, everywhere I put my feet there seemed to be ice.

There wasn’t anything I could do to change the ice so I chose to roll with it. I shifted my posture to keep my center of gravity perfectly over my feet. My strides where greatly condensed as I went with shorter steps in order to keep myself from getting to out of balance. Due to the combination of clean blacktop, packed snow, ice, and potholes each step was an adventure and very rarely did more than three straight steps feel the same.

This was an opportunity for me to push the edge. I would rather not run on conditions like this, but what an opportunity to push my boundaries a bit. By running on this edge I was able to work on my balance, my focus, adjusting my steps, my breathing, and strengthening the little stabilizing muscles in my legs and feet. Before I knew it I was actually enjoying this run on the edge. For sure, it still hurt, but there was something fun in pushing the boundaries of what I feel comfortable doing.

When considering the past few weeks, possibly months, in much of life I’m seeing where I’ve pushed the edges. I’ve moved right to the boundary of comfort and ridden the line between there and discomfort. On that edge I’ve found growth. There’s more room to push that edge further and further out. The stretching doesn’t always feel good, it often starts off as the opposite, but the end result is positive. Not only that, but I’m finding that if I keep asking myself the right questions and choosing the right mindset I actually enjoy pushing the edge. Despite the discomfort I know I’m moving forward. Kind of like increasing the weights while lifting, it’s a good discomfort. If I do it right I have the opportunity to enjoy both the destination (joy) and the journey (suffering).

This might be one of those nights when I start to explore and idea to come back to a little later. I feel like there’s a lot more to pull apart and extract to this concept, but I want to let this ferment further. May this blog be a future thought seed.